Hip pain can make it hard to walk, go up and down stairs, squat, or sleep on the side that hurts. A clicking or snapping feeling or sound around your hip joint (snapping hip) may bother you or cause you to worry. But if your hip isn't painful, in many cases the click or snap is nothing to worry about. Home treatment may be all that's needed for minor hip symptoms.
To better understand hip problems, it may be helpful to know how the hip works. It's the largest ball-and-socket joint in the body. The thighbone (femur) fits tightly into a cup-shaped socket (acetabulum) in the pelvis. The hip joint is tighter and more stable than the shoulder joint, but it doesn't move as freely. The hip joint is held together by muscles in the buttock, groin, and spine; tendons; ligaments; and a joint capsule. Several fluid-filled sacs (bursae) cushion and lubricate the hip joint and let the tendons and muscles glide and move smoothly. The largest nerve in the body (sciatic nerve) passes through the pelvis into the leg.
Hip problems may develop from overuse, bone changes with age, tumors, infection, changes in the blood supply, or a problem that was present from birth (congenital). Oddly enough, a person who has a hip problem often feels pain in the knee or thigh instead of the hip. The type of hip pain you have may help your doctor find the cause of your pain.
You may have pelvic, groin, thigh, or knee pain (referred pain) along with a sore, painful, or tender hip. Hip pain can have many causes.
Treatment may include first aid and using a brace, cast, harness, or traction. It may also include physical therapy and medicines. In some cases, surgery is needed. Treatment for a hip problem depends on:
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
Pain in adults and older children
When an area turns blue, very pale, or cold, it can mean that there has been a sudden change in the blood supply to the area. This can be serious.
There are other reasons for color and temperature changes. Bruises often look blue. A limb may turn blue or pale if you leave it in one position for too long, but its normal color returns after you move it. What you are looking for is a change in how the area looks (it turns blue or pale) and feels (it becomes cold to the touch), and this change does not go away.
Symptoms of infection may include:
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and illness. Some examples in adults are:
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical care.
Based on your answers, you need emergency care.
Call 911 or other emergency services now.
Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. Or they might be concerned about the cost. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.
Try the following tips to help relieve hip pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Try to rest and protect the affected area. Stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may be causing your pain or soreness.
Put a pillow between your knees. Or sleep on your back with pillows under your knees.
For 48 hours, avoid things that might increase swelling. These things include hot showers, hot tubs, hot packs, and drinks that contain alcohol.
After 48 to 72 hours, if the swelling is gone, you can put heat on the area. Moist heat with a hot water bottle or warm towel may feel good on your hip.
After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, you can carefully start doing normal activities and gentle stretching, such as:
Gently massage or rub your hip to relieve pain and encourage blood flow. Don't massage the affected area if it causes pain.
Smoking slows healing because it decreases blood supply and delays tissue repair.
Call a doctor if any of the following occur during self-care at home:
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.